|To:||Long Preston (SD836578)|
|Distance:||27.7 miles (44.6 km)|
|Meets:||A56, A681, A646, A671, A679, A6114, M65, A56, A6068, M65, A59, A65|
|Route outline (key)|
The A682 is a cross-country road on the west side of the Pennines.
Section 1: Rawtenstall – Nelson
The road starts on the A56 Edenfield bypass (part of the much overlooked Chester–Manchester–Burnley–Skipton road, one of the north's most important routes, and still the main road through Manchester – more on the A56 another time).
The road starts off as a dual carriageway, passing the northern end of the preserved East Lancashire Railway to meet a gyratory on the edge of Rawtenstall town centre, where it crosses the A681. The road now heads north along the built-up valley bottom, climbing gradually until it finally reaches open country a short distance before passing Clowbridge Reservoir. The road then descends into Burnley. The A646 southern bypass is crossed at traffic lights before the road, now dualled, continues into the town centre. It crosses the railway line and Leeds & Liverpool Canal in quick succession before running along Centenary Way, the town centre relief road. The A671 is met at a roundabout after which the road narrows and the A679 is met at traffic lights; that road continues left as the relief road whilst the A682 continues ahead.
The road continues north, passing a gyratory with a church in the middle, before another brief dual section (although the left lane in both directions is marked out as parking, making the road essentially D1). This ends just before traffic lights where the A6114 comes in from the right bringing primary status with it. The road then passes through Brierfield and reaches a roundabout, from where a spur of the A682 bears left to reach the M65 at J12. The mainline of the road continues ahead into Nelson. It bears right onto a relief road in the town centre before a left turn at a roundabout leads to traffic lights, where the A56 turns off to the right.
Section 2: Nelson – Long Preston
Another short dual section ends before the A682 crosses the canal and M65 again (at J13) before it skirts Barrowford and crosses the Pendle Water. Although this section is a primary route, a lot of the signs are black on white at the top end. Because there are no places of significance along its length, from Nelson it is signposted "Kendal", some 55 miles away. I suspect most people in Nelson have never even heard of Kendal… It's a good twisty road over the moors and, into Ribblesdale, it is plagued by caravans in the summer.
After some distance winding over the moors the road descends into Gisburn (which gives its name to Robin Hood villain Guy of Gisborne) where it meets the A59. There's a multiplex east along Main Street to a mini-roundabout by the church where the A682 regains its number and northerly direction. The road runs upstream along the valley of the River Ribble, crossing the rarely used Clitheroe to Hellifield railway line on a number of occasions. The B6253 bears off to the right to reach Hellifield but the A682 continues ahead to cross the Leeds to Settle railway line, ending shortly afterwards at a T-junction on the edge of Long Preston, just within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The whole of the A682 south of Nelson was the original route of the A56. That road was diverted off in the mid-1980s along the existing Haslingden bypass (opened as the A622), and via a new stretch to join the M65 at J8. The old A56 from Edenfield through Burnley and onto Nelson was detrunked and renumbered A682 at this time. You would think that, with the diversion, the A56 would now end at the M65 or at least reappear on that road, but no: it just resurrects itself in Nelson in a seemingly arbitrary spot although one with reason behind it (or is it pure laziness?): this was the original southern end of the A682 and so renumbering the remainder of the A56 would require a different number.
Original Author(s): Bob Sykes